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Stone-pelting cases against J&K children to be withdrawn: Rajnath Singh

Home Minister Rajnath Singh made this announcement while speaking at the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Conclave here.

Stone-pelting cases against J&K children to be withdrawn: Rajnath Singh

Srinagar: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who arrived in Jammu and Kashmir on a two-day visit on Thursday, announced that all stone-pelting cases against children across the state will be withdrawn.

The Home Minister made this announcement while speaking at the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Conclave here.

"When I was in Delhi, I met Afshan Ashiq (Kashmiri Footballer) and she told me that she had been a part of stone-pelting incidents earlier, but ever since she got into sports, her life was turned around. Sports can bring a change in your lives. Children can be misguided easily but we know the truth that is why we have withdrawn all stone-pelting cases against them," Singh said.

Speaking on her turn, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti lauded the Central Governments' efforts for promoting sports in the state. Mufti said that the children of the state deserved to live in a positive atmosphere sans all the terror and violence.

"Children from Jammu and Kashmir should also be given atmosphere and opportunity to develop like that of the other parts of the country, so that stone pelting, bombing and gunning stop and these children get a chance to grow," Mufti said.

Rajnath attended this conclave as part of his two-day official visit to the state.

Singh has come to the state to review the law and order situation with Governor NN Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and senior officials of various state and Central departments.

He is also likely to take a call on whether the present suspension of operations against the terrorists can be extended after Eid festival to cover the annual Amarnath Yatra.

The Home Minister will also review the security and other preparations for the Amarnath Yatra, which begins from June 28.

While the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP coalition government in the state wants the continuation of the Ramzan ceasefire beyond the Eid, top sources suggest the field commanders of the Army have argued that the cessation of hostilities from only one side is helping the militants to regroup and increase their numbers through recruitment of local boys.

Among other issues, the Home Minister will also deliberate upon the response of the separatist leaders to the Centre's offer of talks.

While the Home Minister has earlier maintained that the Centre is ready to talk to everyone including the separatists, BJP`s National General Secretary Ram Madhav had recently made an offer to the separatists to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the Centre.

The separatist leaders have been demanding clarity in the talks offer so that their engagement in the dialogue would yield concrete results. 

On the second day of his visit, the Singh will review the security along the international border in Jammu and also deliberate on the situation that has been arising because of the migration of border residents each time Pakistan violates the bilateral ceasefire on the border.

Jitendra Singh, MoS (PMO), and a team of senior Home Ministry officials will also accompany Rajnath Singh during the two-day visit.

(With Agency inputs)